It's been 4 weeks since Darrin left Seattle aboard Eione. Amazing how life once again has changed so completely for us, but there's still plenty to do before we can truly feel free of the hamster wheel, although I wonder if that ever will be entirely possible.
It's not until you actually try untangling yourself from a first world life do you realize how chained you are to corporate America. To wit:
Physical address. We're required to have one. Technically it's a sailboat in the a marina on the Pacific Ocean, but that won't work, it needs to be one in the US. Which is ridiculous because we simply do not have one.
Phones. We want to keep our numbers but the international travel plans don't really apply to us, they're only for people on vacation. The utter ridiculousness of trying to have a phone unlocked so we can buy local sim cards is a nightmare of massive phone trees and spending far too long on hold, to be told it will take a week to unlock a phone. Are you kidding me? It's a check box on the account! Uncheck the damn thing! That doesn't take a WEEK. Ugh. Frustration.
The list is long and varied (and incomplete) and fortunately the trail has been blazed by those who have done this before us, so it's more a matter of doing the research and following the advice given. We've found solutions for most of these but the sheer level of paperwork involved, particularly to comply with government requirements is outrageous. I suspect that because I'm such a rule follower this may be more difficult than it needs to be, because I know there are people out there who just up and go and don't look back and they seem to be surviving OK. I suppose the realization in all of this is how deeply the tentacles of government are embedded in every aspect of our lives, and it shocks me, but probably not in the way you expect.
After composing this post a moment of clarity had me taking a few steps back for some quiet introspection. And I feel so remorseful. Am I really complaining about finding car insurance to cover me in another country? Can I really complain about health insurance so I can come back if anything major happens and I need treatment? Is it unreasonable of me to complain about providing the government with information about where I'm going, when you had better believe the Embassy is the first number I'll call if I'm in trouble, so they can help me out of it? Am I that precious that waiting a week to have a phone unlocked makes me mad? I'm complaining about having too much stuff. Seriously?
In truth the sheer magnitude of resources that go into making my life safe and comfortable in ways I haven't truly appreciated before has overwhelmed me with how thankful I am to have lived in this wonderful country and that purely by accident of birth I had the privilege of growing up in another wonderful country. I have had so much opportunity handed to me that I've taken for granted (education, health care to name a few) but yet I've complained about them and not seen how truly lucky I am to have been provided them. So many others put their lives on the line every day to get themselves and their families here because they want a better life, not to mention the incredible members of our military (who have a special place in my heart - thank you Veterans), away from their families and dealing with horrors I will never see to keep me safe, and here I am poncing around like a princess whining about an unlocked phone.
My first thought was to delete this entire post because I feel embarrassed by my materialism and sense of entitlement, particularly because I've been waffling on about looking forward to a simpler life of less "things". I didn't delete it because it also makes me feel contrite and humbled. I'm so fortunate in so many ways that so many others are not. Our children are safe and happy, we're healthy, we have food and family and love. And the protections of a government that allows us free speech, a mighty military, healthcare, education, ample food, work opportunities and the freedom to ponce around like the aforementioned princess if I want. Sure, it's not perfect, but nothing ever is.
I'll very happily fill out the forms, jump through the hoops, wait for the phone to be unlocked and comply with the rules. Because it's a small price to pay for the wealth and protection I have because I'm a citizen of the United States and Australia.
Update: The phone will never be unlocked. Apparently they can't do it for whatever reason. Oh well, we'll find a way to make it work.
Very contrite indeed.